Blog Shut Down And Switchover

A note from the Blog Author

     Hello! This is a sort of bittersweet post as I will be saying goodbye to this blog and focusing solely on my other blog Happily Ever Tales.  I will, however, be branching out on that blog and adding some little posts like I did on this page--posts about things I love, how stuff works, and little pics and things.  I apologize in advance if you see a post from here linked over there but I want to make sure these posts don't die off and I would like to be able to share them all eventually with my readers on Happily Ever Tales.  So, for now, goodbye from The Nighs, To Scotland and Back Again.  We are back again and our adventures will continue on our other page.  Thank you for taking the time to read here and I hope you come visit my newer blog.  

Cheers, Rachel

EASY SEW: Bunting For Baby Tips and Tricks



Well, it's been two months since I wrote on this blog and if it serves as a journal, you'll understand how often I do that.  Today, however, I'm pretty thrilled to have taken some very dull shots of a bit of bunting I've made.  I actually made about a dozen of these sets because I had more fabric than I expected to have.  Here's my tips on bunting:

 First, pick out materials.  I like to keep mine in the same color sets.  You can see in the picture at the top of the page that the fabrics are all fairly bright, light, and colorful--perfect for the kids' room they are destined for (Baby Malone aka the baby of Miss Mommy).  I found a bunch of pieces of my mother-in-law's leftovers from couch/window coverings and they made a lovely bunting set shown directly above. 

 TIP: Buy fat quarters!
Above you can see I stuck with pinks, oranges, and blues which made for a sweet kids room look. I was very surprised that a fat quarter from the fabric store (on sale for $2.99) made about eight to twelve standard triangles! That's quite a few for one piece and that meant that I could make more strands for less.  Hooray for discovery! I hate buying fat quarters when I thought they were so expensive but now I know I can pick out more patterns and do more things (though the tapestry one ended up being my favorite and is best made with remnants so you don't break the bank).

  This set I almost sent to Miss Mommy as well as her favorite color is green but I like the set at the top for her girl the best.  This was made with leftovers from my mother-in-law's pile.

 TIP: Use any kind of edging, ribbon, or lace for your connector and when you get to the end of the line, make sure you have enough edging to loop over against itself and sew closed so that you can hang these bunting pieces with ease.

 Use a zig zag stitch on the sewing machine (don't you love my straight stitch?).  Sorry for the wrinkled material.  These need to be ironed.   The zig zag stitch is for lazy sewers like myself who don't want to finish all the edges of our triangles.  I didn't bother to finish it at all as you can tell for some of the pieces, but they won't unravel completely because of the zig zag stitch.

 Here is a piece of trim I found that my mother-in-law had from some project or other and didn't need anymore.  It looks really cute as the top line of the bunting and it was free!

 If you have time and can maneuver your materials with ease, you can even forego the edging bit and sew each triangle to the next by overlapping them a little.  You can see that I overlapped most of my bunting lines and this was because it was easier to connect the triangles than seperate them on the lines.  This was a little harder with lightweight cotton but the heavier tapestry fabrics did brilliantly.

Here's the ribbon I chose for Miss Mommy.  It's springy and so cute with the green stitching.

 These pictures below are close ups of my bunting gift for Miss Mommy.

So, that's basically it.  I was surprised at how cheap and easy bunting is to make when it costs such an arm and a leg at the crafting / fabric stores.  Try this yourself! You won't be disappointed.  There are so many party places, rooms, and decorative ideas for bunting.  I'll leave you with one last picture of the bunting I made for my mother-in-law as a thank you in an old patriotic theme that she hung in the tent on their camping site.  Brilliant and so cute.

Friends Like Apples


 I didn't think it would be a piece of cake or a walk in the park or a walk in a cake to move to Scotland and back again but I was hoping that returning home would feel more triumphant.  I don't remember now what I was expecting when we decided to up and move here to Aberdeen for Adam to continue school.  I know I wanted to come here.  I know I knew it would be magical.  I didn't know what friends I would make.  Nothing had prepared me to be sitting around at a BBQ and look up and see faces that I love surrounding us--not just one or two people that we kind of got to know but a whole family of familiar and loving faces that would come and take us to the hospital in the middle of the night or pick us up at the airport or make us meals if we needed them.
     As I sit here writing about returning to my "real life" in California, I have trouble swallowing a little bit as I think of this family that we'll be leaving.  Somehow I know that I won't find this again.  Sure, I'll have friends.  Sure, I'll have family and kindred spirits and people who like the things I like and love the things I love.  I just won't have these people.  And this is why leaving Scotland will be very hard.

Theologians at play

Everyone singing Happy Birthday to Calvin

Walking on the wall of Tantallon Castle on the cliffs of the Firth of Forth

I love castles.  My family loves castles.  We have been to over sixty castles here in Scotland and we've  been to at least a dozen of those five or six times each.  We love exploring and learning about the deep green and grey history of this rugged land.  I've been to places I know I could live in if it weren't for parents and siblings and loved ones beckoning us home from across the globe.  I've climbed to the tops of towers (calling in a panicked voice to my children to hold someone's hand and go slow), crept into caves and dungeons, and taken boats across rivers and lakes to get to castles, but the thing that I feel as I visit each one for the last time is: these will be here forever and my friends will move on.  I can love a castle and leave it, knowing that it will be there in the rain and the mist for others to find, patiently waiting out the centuries and enduring the turbulent weather and pitter patter of tourist feet as they sit solemnly looking out across their familiar hills.  We are the first to leave of our year. We are the first to turn our faces to another place and a new time.  It hurts because I can look back and see everyone still at a barbeque, still going to study in castles, still meeting at parks in the afternoon sunshine, and I will be on the other side of the planet waiting for the next part of life to move forward.

Me in the middle of Elgin Cathedral

Mercy walking down to Fraser Castle

Calvin walking away from Glamis Castle

Adam and Mercy looking up at what I think is Balvenie Castle

Calvin and Adam looking out over the Scottish countryside next to Auchindoun Castle

I suppose this is made larger in my mind because we are unsure of the next steps at home.  Adam will still have another year to finish his PhD and we will be homeless, insurance-less, and hoping for a future that feels more settled.  I wish I could tell everyone here that California is where they should be but the reality is that everyone will be spread out across the country at the very least. I am entertaining ideas of meeting up with good friends and hope that that can become a reality instead of a faint idea that fades in the face of "real life".

Shall I forget you Scotland? I do not think I can.  You will fade into a story that I tell to those who will listen but I cannot forget you.  You have shaped my life for a few years and I am grateful for it.

I can still remember the day we landed.  I was covered in sweat because Mercy had slept on me for most of the plane ride, I was dirty, and I was tired.  Our new home was unfamiliar and cold and all the switches and plugs and no television or phone made it a lonely island that I wasn't thrilled about.  Something helped, though.  Or rather, someone helped.  The keys to open the front door arrived in the hands of a pretty girl with a cheerful smile and a bubbling personality.  Emily Malone not only found us a place we could call home, she helped make it homey.  There was food in the refrigerator when we arrived and the heaters had been turned on.  I know I didn't make a good first impression as I stood forlornly in the hall trying to smile and not cry but she knows now that I consider her our first blessing in Scotland and a dear friend and so for that day I am forgiven my coldness, which was really all the tired and sad I could muster. 
   Our second and third days got a little better.  A girl knocked on our door and said that Adam had sent her up to me.  She had also just arrived with her family and they were staying at the bed and breakfast down the street.  Christy Sumner was my second friend in this new place.  Adam and I quickly learned that they had been searching for a flat and hadn't found one and their time had run out at the bed and breakfast. My husband and I looked at each other and almost fell over ourselves in asking them to come and stay with us until they found something.  We welcomed the company and the solidarity and even though they had to sleep on the floors and couches, we all seemed happy to be able to figure things out together.  I can still remember Christy and I standing in my kitchen, trying to figure out how the oven worked.  It was pretty funny trying switches and wondering if we were doing things right or about to set the house on fire.  Needless to say as a set of first memories, these were some of the loveliest I could ask for.  Here's the first two friends I met in Scotland with me: we're holding down the branch while the others pick.




I won't start reciting all first encounters nor best and worst memories in this post, but I will say that there was a moment when Christy and Emily and I were laughing hysterically while trying to get the apples off Emily's apple tree in the back yard still stands out as one of my favorite memories of Scotland.  Who could ask for these friends like apples, their love and help so numerous it weighs the boughs of the trees till they touch the ground?

Moms at the park: Emily, Joy, Christy, Angie, and Bethany

Bethany and her youngest Ian 

I think it's hilarious that Emily could spot Bethany across the street and just ask her if she was American and get to know her from walking up to her.  I love seeing Abel's enthusiasm and Ian's cuteness and just enjoying Bethany's company and seeing her and her husband Aaron at any crazy AWF events we muster up.  She is one of those people you hope you can be friends with because they are the kind of people you wish you were all the time--someone with a great deal of grace and love who is smart and unpretentious.  Thank you Lord for a friend such as this.

It's hard to feel you've gotten to know Angie right away because she is surrounded by a sea of boys and when I first met her, two in that sea were her twin little dudes who were still quite babies.  However, after we moved closer to the school her eldest and second sons Elijah and Brady respectively became my son's closest friends.  They play together at least three times a week at each others houses.  I love that they speak with accents though my son is very Californian and Angie's brood is from Canada.  I'm so glad we moved closer to the school.  I have enjoyed becoming friends with Angie and her family and I wistfully wish that they were considering moving to the US somewhere so that perhaps our families could stay in touch.
Melissa and her cutie pies Jamie and Callie are pictured above at our Easter egg hunt with Angie and her twins.  We have loved getting to know the Stratis clan better and hanging out when we can.  Melissa is another good friend I have enjoyed getting to know here in Aberdeen.

I have made many other friends here that I love for so many different reasons and I will miss them so dearly that there is a little ache in my heart that will not leave no matter what I put before it to confuse it and pretend that I am not going away in a week.  Thank you especially to the ladies of the AWF (Aberdeen Women's Fellowship) for your love, company, delicious goodies, and friendship.  I'm going to get in trouble (of the long-winded variety) if I go on reciting friends and moments I've spent with special girls whom I'll be sorry to leave.  I'll leave with a few pictures of friends and places I've come to regard as home here and hope that I'll be forgiven writing blurbs about everyone and everything.  Needless to say I want to send a special thank you to Melissa, Joy, Jenna, Shalle, Kate, Katrina, Sharon, Stephanie, Meg, Leah, Joyce, and Rachel Ann (and anyone I've left out on accident) for lovely Scottish moments.

Joy, Angie, and Katrina

Christy and Emily

me, Jenna, Rachel Ann, and Joyce

Shalle and Bethany
Some of our little 'uns eating lunch at the train park:
Joshua, Abigail, Augustine, Matty and Jesse

Mercy and Rebekah on our back step in their dress up clothes

Halloween 2010 Adults: Bethany, Christy, me, and Emily
Kids: Abel, Abigail, Joshua, Mercy, Rebekah, and Luke

Melissa with Jamie and Callie

Monica, Joy, Angela, Christy, Chelsea, Jenna, and Melissa

Mercy with Meg

Joe holding Ewan while he and Emily laugh though Rebekah seems concerned

Christy, Emily, Darren (costume excellence) and Bethany as we head out to trick or treat

Christy, her kiddos, and Mercy as we trudge to school 

Ben, Elijah, Brady, Calvin, and James on Calvin's birthday this year 2011

Getting ready for our Easter egg Hunt in front of King's College this year 2011

Adam, Calvin, and Mercy wandering in Fraser Castle's courtyard

Here are the kids waiting patiently for a turn at wiffle ball on Easter

King's College where Adam studies

Well, I suppose for more pictures you could go to our facebook page Follow The Nighs and check out our Scottish adventures.  So now all that's left is to say goodbye to friends here that I will make sure I see again.  Thank you for making our time in Scotland better than I could ever have expected.  
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.
The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
Let others follow it who can!
Let them a journey new begin,
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening rest and sleep to meet.
Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate,
And though we pass them by today,
Tomorrow we may come this way
And take the hidden paths that run
Towards the Moon or to the Sun.
Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate,
And though I oft have passed them by,
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.
This seemed appropriate here.